Ad:tech showcases emerging technologies

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Behavioral targeting, search marketing, online video and mobile marketing applications made a big splash at the ad:tech conference April 26-28 in San Francisco.

The event, produced by dmg world media, attracted more than 10,000 preregistered attendees, up 60% over the attendance at last year's San Francisco show. The exhibit floor featured more than 300 vendors.

"Two themes I kept hearing at the event were behavioral targeting and search marketing," said Shar VanBoskirk, senior analyst at Forrester Research, who moderated a panel on ad networks.

Several ad networks, including ValueClick Inc. and BlueLithium, announced behavioral targeting services at the show. BlueLithium trumpeted the release of AdPath 2.0, a behavioral targeting software service that combines audience targeting and remarketing.

"Behavioral targeting is an inevitable service for ad networks," VanBoskirk said. "Advertisers are looking for ways to target their audience more effectively."

One of the new events at the show was a "Now and Next Technology Showcase," which featured interactive demos by more than 30 companies in mobile advertising, interactive TV and online gaming.

"There are so many new concepts surfacing, and we wanted to create a way for ad:tech attendees to see these companies in a real hands-on environment," said Susan Bratton, CEO of Cendara and executive chair of ad:tech.

While many of the technologies showcased were geared toward consumer markets such as fashion, retail and entertainment, they also hold promise for b-to-b marketers, executives said.

Rich media company Rovion Inc., which developed a technology called inPerson to create online video "spokespeople," demonstrated its product in the Now and Next showcase. One of its first clients was dmg. It used the technology to create an online video of Bratton, who appeared to walk onto the ad:tech Web site and give an introduction to the show and some of its highlights.

Rovion announced at the show that will use the technology to create more interactive advertising opportunities for its network of Web sites.

Avant Interactive, another exhibitor in the Now and Next showcase, demonstrated its V-Click technology, which lets users click on online streaming video ads to see more in-depth product information.

While the demo featured an online promotion for the UPN show "America's Next Top Model," Avant executives said the technology is also designed for b-to-b companies that want to provide users with deeper product information.

"Our technology creates sticky interactive experiences that encourage viewers to spend maximum amounts of time with the promotional content," said Dan Bates, president of Avant.

Mobot, a mobile marketing company launched in September 2004, demonstrated its visual search and recognition technology, which uses camera phones to connect advertisers with their target audience. Users can take pictures of products or ads with their camera phones, then e-mail the images to Mobot to receive more information.

For example, Hachette Filipacchi media launched a promotion with Mobot in which ELLEgirl readers could enter a sweepstakes for a shopping spree by taking a picture of "the girl in the red hat" on one of the pages in the magazine.

Another application might be taking a picture of a product in an ad to receive an e-mail or text message with a list of nearby stores that carry it, Mobot said.

Pheedo Inc., an RSS marketing company, announced Ads for Feeds, a service that allows publishers to insert ads into RSS feeds and gather user behavior data. The service also includes RSS analytics, including data on revenue earned, views of editorial content, clicks and aggregated information.

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